Even in Uncertain Times : Preparation Makes Perfect…

David Sheldon

One would be hard-pressed to find an individual or business entity that hasn’t been adversely affected in one way or another by this unprecedented climate. Of course, some more than others, but the world of sports was one of the most significantly impacted areas of our lives. Unfortunately, many winter sports officials missed their semi-finals or state finals assignments due to the COVID-19 outbreak, and most spring sports officials never even got started (besides maybe a meeting or two).

There were so many unknown factors early on as the virus spread, and in most sports, there’s just too much human contact for them to be permitted and considered safe. 

As the government is incrementally re-opening up the economy, officials are awaiting guidance for how we can get back to work and get back to doing what we love.

Baseball and softball appear to be the first sports that are being allowed in some states, presumably due to the more considerable average distance between players, the games being played outdoors, the increased temperatures as summer settles in, to mention a few reasons. But what about the upcoming fall sports season? Will they be modified beyond recognition? What will they do with fans and others, usually in attendance? Will the seasons themselves be shortened, or worse – eliminated? 

By nature, we like to prepare and inform ourselves before going into contests, meetings, study groups, etc. But, that is not currently as possible as we’d like it to be. The challenge for many officials, especially the more conventional ones, is that in-person training and repetitions are difficult to replace. But we cannot afford to take a season OR an off-season hiatus in our studying and development. While state laws have extremely limited our traditional approach to training and gatherings, there has been a surge of group video meetings, conference calls, podcasts, and other virtual sessions that have allowed most officials to stay engaged. Whether it’s just a bi-weekly study group or a near-daily clinic with almost 500 participants, there are nearly endless possibilities to continue your training and development for your sport(s). I have either helped lead or registered for about 50 online study sessions, clinics, and video conference calls within only the last few months. There are no excuses when it comes to being mentally prepared for the upcoming fall season. 

If you haven’t experienced very much (or any at all) of these virtual training sessions, try arguably the top platform for officials in the industry to get you started: ZOOOM App.

Other platforms are either choppy, have limited functions, or are geared towards players’ and coaches’ film review rather than sports officiating. ZOOOM App is extremely user-friendly, and easy for officials and assignors of all ages to familiarize and utilize for their associations’ benefit.

We also have a unique tracking capability within our software that allows hosts to necessarily track attendance, and monitor who is watching their videos. You can see both when your officials are logging into ZOOOM App and what clips they are reviewing. 

Also, ZOOOM App training is available online, or through a downloadable app for your smartphone or tablet. So no matter what your situation is, or when you get those spare 20 minutes to develop your skill, this platform is at your fingertips and ready to access. You can also view clips easily at any time, but you can also upload clips without having to convert the file type. Share with an entire association, or share directly with your fellow officials.

Furthermore, ZOOOM App has a “You Make the Call” feature that allows officials to not only select from a list of multiple-choice options on how they would rule on a particular play, but they can also offer their input on the clip.

This can allow for discussions to occur that will get all officials involved in breaking down the clip. If the instructor or person providing the educational clip chooses to turn the comment function off, this person will have total control to do so. Furthermore, they will also be able to have complete control over who can view the poll results, as well as the number of available options for the viewers to see. In my opinion, ZOOOM App is closest to a “social media” for sports officials than any other platform, which is a rare thing nowadays. ZOOOM App is an excellent tool to use to recruit and maintain younger officials and build a network for sharing with your mentors and peers while knowing that our privacy and policy will safely protect your posts from being undesirably seen by anyone else.

Finally, to seal the deal, ZOOOM App’s prices cannot be matched. Our Sales Expert (Andy Hamilton – will work directly with you and your association to ensure that the ZOOOM App is meeting and exceeding your expectations. No matter the sport, no matter the season, no matter the length of our quarantines and shutdowns, let ZOOOM App help you recognize your true potential as an official!

Written by :
David Sheldon
Lead Editor and Content Developer


About David : David is a multiple-sport official and an accounting professional from the Cincinnati, Ohio area. He currently works Division II and Division III football at the college level, and varsity basketball at the high school level through the state of Ohio. Going into his ninth year of officiating overall, he has also worked baseball, softball, and volleyball contests. His goals for the immediate future include working Division I NCAA football.

Graduating with his Bachelor’s degree in accounting in 2011, David has been employed at CPA firms for just under a decade. During that time, he has worked at the staff/senior level preparing tax returns, executing bookkeeping services, compiling financial statements, gathering audit details, and provided general business consulting to over 1,000 different clients. 

Recently, David has also started his own business called Zebra Books LLC. This company performs all of the services listed above, as well as create resumes, cover letters, and other professional documents/services for sports officials at all levels. Zebra Books’ mission states helping officials focus more on their officiating knowledge/abilities, while he helps organize, manage, and report as necessary the financial data to the appropriate entities.

David lives just minutes from downtown Cincinnati in Fort Thomas, Kentucky with his fiancee, Rachel. His hobbies include playing disc golf, shooting billiards, and hiking. 

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